“Who wants a stylus? You have to get them and put them away. You lose them. Yuck. Nobody wants the stylus,” Steve Jobs had famously proclaimed on January 9, 2007 while unveiling the original iPhone. Yet, here we are eight years later, and we have the Apple Pencil. Yes, Apple will be selling a $99 stylus, which will work with the new iPad Pro.
Touchscreens have come a long way since 2007. When Jobs said nobody wanted a stylus, he was talking about the “revolutionary” capacitive display on the iPhone that let people use their fingers to interact. Other smartphones required a stylus not because of any special functionality but because their resistive touchscreens required a stylus to work properly. On the other hand, the iPhone brought multitouch where users could use pinch and zoom gestures, for instance. Or to just flick through menus with a swipe of a finger – no more dragging a stylus tip along the display. It was indeed magical and today you are unlikely to find a smartphone that does not use a capacitive display.
However, I am not exactly surprised that Apple has launched a stylus. It is not akin to proving Jobs was wrong. The iPad Pro works with the same touch interface like the original iPhone, it is well, just better now. It can work with the Apple Pencil and your fingers simultaneously. And there are many applications where you would be able to use the stylus input that have been designed for Apple Pencil.
And if you might have noticed, the Apple Pencil is an optional accessory with the iPad Pro which you can buy for an extra $99 or roughly Rs 6,500. But there is one thing the Apple Pencil lacks, which was something Jobs had warned about back then in 2007.
“You lose them. Yuck. Nobody wants the stylus.”
There is no place you can stow the Apple Pencil away in the iPad Pro. Unlike some of the Samsung Galaxy Note tablets and phablets, Apple has not provided any slot in the tablet itself and none in the cases available for the iPad Pro either. So where does one keep the Apple Pencil? How does one ensure that they don’t lose it?
Believers might suggest that the Apple Pencil is an optional accessory and hence, provision for its stowage is not something that needs to be incorporated in the iPad Pro itself. True. But that was one of the core reasons why Jobs didn’t like styluses in the first place.
In my opinion, even if Apple is selling the Pencil as an optional accessory (in my opinion it should have been a part of the iPad Pro), there should have been provision of storing it inside the tablet. Don’t be surprised if you hear people complaining about losing their Apple Pencil or leaving it somewhere once the iPad Pro goes on sale late October. As far as Apple is concerned, it could well be one of the differentiating, “groundbreaking” feature on the iPad Pro 2 next year.